Ballarat's jobless rate drops with fewer people unemployed

BALLARAT’S unemployment rate has dropped 0.5 per cent in the past month, to a total of 6.5 per cent, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

There were 5700 unemployed people in Ballarat in February, falling by 400 to leave 5300 people out of work in March. 

Treasurer Michael O’Brien said employment in regional Victoria has remained the strongest of all the states.

“Forty-eight thousand, seven hundred regional jobs were created across Australia in the year to March and more than 60 per cent of those jobs are located in regional Victoria,” he said.

“While regional job figures are subject to volatility, the clear trend shows that the Victorian Coalition government is driving job creation and building a better regional Victoria.”

However, Ballarat East Labor MP Geoff Howard said there was still an issue with youth unemployment in the region.

ABS detailed labour force data shows a youth unemployment rate of 17.4 per cent for people between the ages of 15 and 24 in March.

Statewide, there was a youth unemployment rate of 15.2 per cent in March. This rose from 14.9 per cent in February, however was down on the rate of 18.2 per cent in January. 

Mr Howard said the latest Ballarat figure was up from when Labor lost government in November 2010, however historical figures show the rate got as high as 21.4 per cent in October 2010.

In February, the Brotherhood of St Laurence released statistics that showed Ballarat had one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the state.

tom.cowie@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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